Colossians 1:13-20 / 24 November 2013 (End of the Church Year)

Colossians 1:13-20 / Last Sunday (Proper 26C) / 24 November 2013

In Nomine Iesu

The end has come. The last Sunday of the church year. It’s a little artificial, perhaps. A little liturgically“geeky” to be celebrating the end of the year a month before the end of the calendar year, but that’s the way it goes with the Church that always has her eye fixed on the horizon, waiting for the dawning Day, waiting for the Bridegroom to make His appearance, waiting and watching for the Day no man can know when the Son of Man comes as a thief in the night.
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Luke 21:5-28 / 17 November 2013

We are quickly coming to the end of the church year. Yes, it’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to the end of all things and the destruction of the world as we know it. Oh, wait a minute! You weren’t thinking of those things, were you? You were probably thinking about Thanksgiving plans or getting an early jump on Christmas shopping or getting things in order before the busy December days hit. But the end of the world as we know it? That seems so 2012, doesn’t it? It all came and went with Harold Camping and the Mayan calendar, didn’t it?
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Luke 20:27-40 / 10 November 2013

Hypothetical questions. The “what if” question. Every teacher knows about these. The impossible scenario. The argument taken to the absurd. The question is a trap. It doesn’t come out of curiosity or a desire to be taught, but it’s designed to knock the teacher off balance and trap him. College sophomores are notorious for posing them. The question usually comes with the smug look of “Gotcha!” written all over the face of the questioner. Let’s see how the teacher handles this one! Let’s watch him wiggle his way out of this. Let’s lay the trip wire and see if we can catch him. It’s mostly for entertainment or for discrediting the person by posing something he can’t answer. Most hypothetical questions need to be challenged rather than answered.
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Luke 18:1-8 / 20 October 2013

“Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” The “they” are Jesus’ disciples to whom He has just spoken about the dark days of the end. And now He speaks about prayer. Persistent prayer. Nagging prayer. Prayer that for all intents and purposes looks like a pesky widow coming to a crooked judge who simply wears him down with her persistent petitioning.
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Luke 17:11-18 / 13 October 2013

We’ve been doing a lot of faith talk the past few weeks. Faith that forgives. Faith that moves mulberry trees. Faith that serves without boasting or bookkeeping. Today we hear about the faith of Ruth, a young widow from Moab, who becomes an Israelite and goes with her mother-in-law Naomi with the words, “where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.” These are beautiful, faithful words of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law expressing her faith in the God of Israel, a story that ends with Ruth becoming the great-grandmother of David and the ancient ancestor of Jesus.
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Luke 17:1-10 / 6 October 2013

Scandals, stumbling stones, tripping points inevitably come. They can’t not come. But woe to those through whom they come. Jesus is not talking about “temptations to sin,” as the translation you heard has it, but stumbling points to faith. Things that make your faith trip on your walk of faith. It’s like you’re walking along and all of a sudden your toe jams into something and you fall flat on your face. That’s what a “scandalon” is. Something you trip over as you are walking along. And walking through the rocky, uneven path of this life in which sin, death, disease, and doubt are strewn all over the place, there are no shortages of stumbling stones.
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Luke 16:1-15 / 22 September 2013

Today’s reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke deals with the topic of Money. Property and Possessions. The stuff that keeps many of us awake at night and busy during the day. “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” It’s doubtful that Jesus said all these things back to back. Some of them appear elsewhere in a different context. It’s more likely that Luke, under the watchful editorial eye of the Holy Spirit chose to gather up a bunch of “money sayings” all into one place so that we could hear them all at once. What Jesus has to say can be neatly summarized in a sentence that doesn’t appear here in Luke: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
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Luke 15:1-10 / 15 September 2013

This morning’s Gospel text is Luke chapter 15, and that means you get to hear my triennial rant over the lectionary and the beady little minds who produce them. The reading should have been the entire chapter not two-thirds of it. “Jesus told them this parable.” This parable. Singular. A three-parter consisting of a) a lost sheep, b) a lost coin, and c) a lost son. The first two set up the third, which is the clincher and the point of the whole thing. But someone apparently thought that we don’t have the time or attention span for a whole chapter of Holy Scripture and so we get only the first two parts – lost sheep and lost coin. Lost sons will have to wait for another time, I guess. It’s like telling two thirds of a joke and making you wait a couple of years for the punch line.
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Luke 14:25-35 / 8 September 2013

In reading Luke’s version of the Gospel, you always have to be aware on which side of chapter 9 verse 51 you are. Are you before or after? It is a line of demarcation, a turning point. Jesus had just appeared before three of His disciples in transfigured glory on the mountain, and then it says: “When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” He never took His eyes off Jerusalem after that. The cross was His goal, and He was compelled to get there.
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Luke 14:1-14 / 1 September 2013

A Sabbath dinner with Jesus in the house of a Pharisee. You just know this is going to be good. A teachable moment, ripe with possibilities. The Pharisees are watching Jesus carefully. Waiting for Him to make a slip. Do or say something so they can pin a charge on Him.

Enter a man with dropsy. Just the sort of person you want dropping in on your nice little dinner party with Jesus. You’re just getting started with the appetizers and drinks and in walks this man with a distended gut and stands in front of Jesus.
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